Denver Bar Association
November 2006
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Students Praised at Dedication

by Mindy Marks

Justice Srephan Breyer

The University of Colorado School of Law has made major strides since first opening its doors in 1892. At that time, Colorado Law was nestled in a wing of the university’s hospital. Since that time, Colorado Law has been in three other buildings, but when it opened a new law school this fall, Colorado Law became one of the most technologically advanced law schools in the Rocky Mountain Region.

On Sept. 8, members of the legal community gathered for the dedication of the new Wolf Law Building at the University of Colorado. Professor Charles Wilkinson, chair of the building committee, welcomed guests to the dedication and declared it "the celebration they said would never happen."

When complications arose with the TABOR amendment in 2002 and it looked as if the building would not be built, the students found a solution. Law students approved a $1,000-per-year tuition increase and the campus-wide student government imposed a $400-per-year fee on all 29,000 students for 20 years to help finance the building.

The procession enters the dedication ceremony

Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen Breyer dedicated the building. He discussed the value of democracy and praised the students who made the project happen.

"Over the course of 200 years, a civil war, 80 years of segregation, and a lot else besides, Americans who are not lawyers and who are not judges have learned the virtue of following a rule of law — even decisions they don’t like — now that is a national treasure," said Justice Breyer. "To us (U.S. Supreme Court justices) the key to the Constitution is democracy."

The ceremony included a blessing by Alvin Naranjo of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, whose people used to occupy the land; an address by Dean David H. Getches; remarks by American Bar Association President Karen Mathis; and a statement by CU President Hank Brown.

 

The 180,000-square-foot Wolf Law Building will enable Colorado Law to grow, recruit top faculty and promote its nationally recognized centers and clinical programs. Students will benefit from a state-of-the-art classroom environment. The building has wireless networking, distance learning capacity and audio-visual equipment to facilitate the use of technology. The library is the regional archive for the U.S. government, which will make it the most complete law library in Colorado.

Wolff Law Building -- photos courtesy of the
University of Coloado

A new classroom in the
Wolff Law Building

The building houses two high-tech courtrooms with leading-edge videotaping and distance-learning capabilities. The Wittemyer Courtroom will be a venue for symposia, class meetings, conferences, court proceedings of state and federal courts and large gatherings. It also will host actual sessions of state, federal and tribal appellate courts. The Carrigan Teaching Courtroom will be used for classes, moot court competitions and training in litigation.

"History is being made with the opening of the new building," said Dean Getches. "The Wolf Law Building will be a source of pride for everyone associated with Colorado Law for generations to come."


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